By Janaki Jane, Colorado Spirit
The Lyons & Environs Colorado Spirit Team listens to stories of area residents’ experiences of the flood on a daily basis. Recently, these stories have brought to mind another story: one about a Thanksgiving tradition some families have. They give thanks for all of the people that brought them their Thanksgiving feast. It takes a while. For instance, to give thanks for the turkey, they thank both the farmer who raised it and the farmers who raised the feed. They thank all those who
made the fertilizer for the grain. They thank the people who processed the turkey, the truck driver who brought it to the store. The oil rig refinery workers who made it possible for the fuel to get to the delivery truck.
It goes on and on, including thanks even for the house itself, the utilities that cooked the food and warm the house and light their days and nights.
Thousands upon thousands of strangers make every Thanksgiving dinner possible. These strangers from around the world are interwoven into the lives of the homes, families, and communities of each and every one of us.
Thousands of strangers and friends have made the recovery in Lyons so far possible. The residents of Lyons and the surrounding areas have been dependent on each other, on the Town, and the County, and the State, and the Federal Government. They have been dependent on strangers, and churches, and foundations, and on the City of Longmont. Over and over again, the people of Lyons have shown a great generosity of spirit in accepting the help given to them by others.
For most of us, it takes great courage and generosity of spirit to accept help. More courage, certainly, than it takes to give help. For some of us, the courage that it takes to ask for help is beyond us. For those who all of their lives have assisted, supported, and donated, to suddenly find themselves in a situation where they need the help of others can be too much to bear. Too much to admit to, except maybe in the dark, to themselves.
The independent spirit of being American runs deep in the mountain west. This is something to be proud of and to cherish. Sometimes we have to remember that another piece of the American spirit is to come together to do things that an individual can’t do alone. The frontier settlers generally came out in wagon trains, banding together in groups for safety and health. They knew that working as a group increased the chances of each individual’s success.
Everyone who has been willing to accept help from another deserves respect. The team hears time and again from survivors of the flood that they are okay, they don’t need help, others need help, not them. This is a testament to the American spirit. And the willingness to accept help from others is a testament to the American spirit, too. The spirit of mutual aid runs deep in our veins.
Some of us have had no choice but to take more help than we are comfortable with. Some need help who have barely begun to ask or don’t know how to ask. Recognizing that we need help takes courage. Asking for help is hard. Accepting help can sometimes be next to impossible. Anyone who does is weaving the fabric of our community more tightly together.